It’s probably that time again. You knew it was coming but that old 2008R2 has been running well or at least it was until recently.
So what to do now that 2008R2 is done and if you knew me you had an SBS2011 (with Exchange & SharePoint as well as 2008R2 server). The good news is the hardware is probably cheaper for more CPU/RAM/Storage/Speed, the bad news is Microsoft isn’t going to let you off easy on the software costs (hard to beat $900 for SBS).
Migrations are not easy and being your system is probably 5+ years of clutter with leftover accounts, email, and more; a fresh start would probably help. So here is what you’ll need and what it’ll take to get there:
- New server box (i7 Hex Core, 64GB RAM, 2x SSD and 2x HDD, 2x Backup USB drives & extra NetCard) All totaled it’ll probably by about $2500-3000.
- MS Server 2016, we’ll use the VM licenses to get more mileage from this $1000 base software. You will have CAL costs per user ($100/user)
- Exchange 2016 is another $1500 plus $150/user. You only need this if you want local Exchange which you probably do.. if you cloud mail count on $10/month/user for anything better than crap. Even at 5 users the ROI is 4 years.
- 1x SSL domain wildcard @ $150/year
- The last part is the sheer work involved. This will usually take me 30-50 hours on just a single machine with VMs running Exchange and all the data transfer and setup (as well as migrating you workstations). The good part is large and more complicated doesn’t increase labour much, even triple server boxes and a dozen VMs with 35 workstations will still be less than 100 hours.
All in for your single box Server & Exchange for 5 users for under $10000, Each additional user is $250 (2x CALs). The amount of data can affect the time required, plan a weekend at the office while it’s migrated. Come Monday everyone has a new profile with their old data still there, email migrated, toys installed and very little to complain about. This would be a great time to retire the old tired workstations as well or possibly just wipe and reinstall.
I know, you see $10,000 and nearly have an involuntary bowel movement. Think about it though, the cheapest POS new car is double that, heck your copier is likely that much. Your business could survive without a vehicle (you can rent one) but turn off the network and see how it all turns out.
Balls in your court, upgrade before the old beast dies and it’s smooth sailing. Wait too long and it fails and it’ll cost a bunch more and a much more painful upgrade with significant down time (no one keeps servers in stock, these are custom computers). I can work miracles, sometimes even resurrecting the dead server.. but not every time, so keep the 5 year replacement idea firmly in your thoughts (moving parts wear out).
Send me a message if you want more details.
The Heartbleed vulnerability in OpenSSL has received a significant amount of attention, worry naught it won’t get you unless you have Apache on your Windows server. Microsoft services were not impacted by the OpenSSL vulnerability and the Windows implementation of SSL/TLS was also not impacted.
Rest assured that default configurations of Windows do not include OpenSSL, and are not impacted by this vulnerability. Windows comes with its own encryption component called Secure Channel (a.k.a. SChannel), which is not susceptible to the Heartbleed vulnerability.
On June 27th 2012 Microsoft accidentally put Skype into thier ‘Important’ updates for the WSUS. What happened was that millions of users got Skype installed on thier desktop without consent and let’s face.. not really needing it.
The update was ‘expired’ once the error was discovered but the fact it happened at all is rather disconcerting. Not only was the program installed without user approval (being it was misclassified) but it makes this vector of program installation much more suspect.
The long and short is; if you suddenly have Skype on your desktop you can uninstall it. It was a Microsoft error that put it there and with luck it will not happen again.
For a couple of months Apple has been aware of some malware called ‘Mac Flashback’ and a resounding failure to do anything about it has cause and estimated (so far) 600,000 viral infections on Mac. Thus the arguement finally ends, and rest assured this isn’t the first virus it’s just the first that cannot be swept under the rug.
So the time has come and you’ll need to check your computer for a bug, and unlike the well versed PC market it won’t be easy. Then you’ll have to get a some real protection because what comes with the computer isn’t sufficient (obviously). Steve Jobs is dead, Mac can get viruses and solution isn’t easy or pretty; welcome to the real world.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/04/06/how-to-protect-your-mac-against-malware/#ixzz1rHktiW5X
Minding your own business and all of the sudden you are told your system is insecure and needs a scan. Problem is this isn’t a program you installed it’s ‘McAfee Security Scan’ which is just this side of malware. You got it thanks to Adobe bundling it into their products and if you have FireFox you got it as an update without even being asked (thus the malware opinion). Here’s the spin:
McAfee has made a free diagnostic tool, McAfee Security Scan, available as an optional download to customers when installing Adobe® Reader® and Adobe Flash® Player software from Adobe.com. The McAfee tool enables consumers to easily check for anti-virus software and firewall protection on their computers. When the scan is complete, users see a report detailing the presence and status of security protection, and are presented with special offers for McAfee security software, including McAfee Anti-Virus, McAfee Internet Security, McAfee Total Protection, and McAfee Family Protection – Adobe
So you get free advertising but little else (the software will ALWAYS say you need McAfee products). Since Microsoft Security Essentials is free, works with Microsoft operating systems and updates regularly there is little point in buying an inferior product. Install Malwarebytes as a recovery system (also free) and 98% of the bad things out there are blocked or recoverable. So how do you rid yourself of McAfee?
- Uninstall McAfee using the Add/Remove Programs
- Consider changing from Adobe to another PDF reader
- Uninstall the PDF plug-in from FireFox or it’ll infect again
You will probably get McAfee with Flash, AIR and perhaps a few other Adobe products if you don’t UNCHECK the option. Reminds me of Rogers Communications and thier idea of negative billing.. we’ll give you more stuff and charge you more unless you tell us not to.
Having put in two of these beasties I’ve got a fairly good idea how they work and where the problems are. So far, there are very few reasons NOT to upgrade from your 2003 or even your 2008 Small Business Server.
Basic setup take about 8 hours with updates, reboots and just the usual typing required to get the system working for the installation in question. Having to reconfigure Exchange 2011 to allow larger emails is the only ‘must do’ and the loss of the ‘global’ POP3 connector is annoying.
Once everything is in you’ll have a lengthy process as you migrate (or at least prepare to) from your previous server. You could migrate directly but honestly we all know that’s a road few travel happily. Better to backup and restore, it’s longer and annoying but never ends in heartbreak, frustration and possible data lose. Keeping your subnet the same as the old network IPs help in the even you have a few forgotten static devices (like phone systems, plotters or some storage device).
With each workstation you’ll want to run the migration wizard (locally save the files) and backup Outlook to a PST file. Since you’re keeping the same subnet joining is a simple as http://connect from your IE install. Copying data will take longer than anything else but it’s unavoidable.
For the time and dollars it’s a good upgrade, beats the heck out of SBS2008.
For those BlackBerry users out there the Express server will work in SBS2011 but it takes time and research. Just pretend you doing an SBS2008 install and then do an Exchange 2011 install as well and wait until the process reaches 450MB.. then it auto-magically works.
IPv6 isn’t a very elegant name but it’s coming and what it looks like is this: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334
Ok that was just an example and probably didn’t scare you but if you remember the old IP addresses.. you know 192.168.16.100 and the like, well that monstrosity above will be replacing your old IP, eventually.
So what does that mean to you? Well the last free blocks of top level IPv4 were assigned in February 2011. Many are still unused all over the world but we are now officially out of ‘new’ blocks to give away. NAT (network address translation) gave us years of breathing room using ‘internal’ IP addresses (from your server, firewall or router) but with phones, computers and even refrigerators wanting an IP we are running/ran out.
The upgrades have been underway for years in the infrastructure but most ISPs have been dragging their heels. For most businesses it means a few updates on your software, a new router or server and maybe some bad days trying to figure out why a webpage won’t load. That is once the ISPs are finally forced to move over to IPv6 (or at least make it a working option). If you want to read more try these:
Don’t worry the internet won’t crash, end or put up toll booths (we hope). IPv6 will help control spammers and hackers better and take the load off the hardware in many cases. Your business might even be able to get its own “official” subnet to identify your gear/phones/computers from everyone elses.
It won’t be easy or painless but when the time comes the change will probably be worth all the effort, just thought you should know.
As you may remember the system requirement from XP to Vista meant you had to buy a new machine and be prepared for it to actually perform worse than your older XP computer. Luckily Windows 7 gained some performance back but with the 64bit version you can upgrade easily and efficiently for less than $400 (not including software).
Windows 7 likes more memory and 4GB will fit in most older machines also with the 64bit version the old memory limit disappears. Thanks to dropping prices, $100 will buy you 4GB of memory and if your motherboard can handle it 8GB is less than $200. For example: NCIX 4GB DDR2 Memory
The next big performance jump is an SSD (Solid State Drive). For about $250 you have a very fast 120GB drive (use as the OS Drive) and can use your old drive as the data drive (makes migration really easy). SSD read much faster than the older mechanical drives but write speeds are about the same, this makes booting and loading programs very quick. Here’s a few examples of SSD: NCIX Solid State Drives
Lastly you need the new operating system, Windows 7 Professional 64bit. If you are buying a drive I suggest you get the OEM version and save a good deal of money ($160 vs. $325 but you need a storage device purchase to qualify). The ‘Home’ version lacks the domain abilities, no point in getting 32bit and Ultimate is over priced. Some examples: NCIX Microsoft Operating Systems
The actual upgrade process is about 2 hours and you’ll have a dual-booting system (BIOS selectable) and be mildly stunned how much faster it is. Consider getting MS Office 2010 Home & Business if you’re still using a 2003 version of Office, it’s worth the upgrade and you get 2 license for about $300.
Microsoft released the first official service pack for Windows 7 today. This is an important update that includes previously released security, performance, and stability updates for Windows 7. SP1 also includes new improvements to features and services in Windows 7, such as improved reliability when connecting to HDMI audio devices, printing using the XPS Viewer, and restoring previous folders in Windows Explorer after restarting.
What will this update bring? No idea at this time as the realease information from Microsoft is at best sketchy. I’ll post an update later when the votes are in and the re-formats have begun (let’s hope not).
Android or iPhone/iPad/iTouch/iPod, either way the fight is on between Apple and Google. The latest front in the ‘Cloud’ wars is the application and subscription market. Apple put in their opening position only to get taken off at the knees by Google (see below):
Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are interested in whether Apple may be violating antitrust laws by routing customers through Apple’s App Store and taking a 30 percent cut of each subscription, sources told the newspaper. Regulators’ interest in the subscription terms is reportedly preliminary and might not lead to a formal investigation.
Then, the day after Apple officially shared details of its subscription plan, Google announced the launch of One Pass, its online charging service for newspapers and magazines. Google’s rival service offers two big differences from Apple’s: content providers will get to keep 90 percent of revenue from One Pass sales, and publishers will retain control of consumer data
Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-20033202-92.html#ixzz1ETcQl0Gx
So the phone market is a little intense but we have yet to see where Microsoft will appear in all this with the new Mobile 7 phones. I have a Mobile 7 and at this time and 2 weeks later I’m still stunned to see you cannot transfer files to/from your computer to the phone via the USB cable. One would have thought the Sync Center of Windows 7 would have been the perfect vehicle for this, but Microsoft now uses Zune (just a really, really bad iTune clone) instead.
The 1st update/servicepack for Mobile 7 is due in March.. let’s hope it includes a file transfer system. I’ll do a detailed Mobile 7 review once the service pack is out, until the I’ll just bite my tongue.